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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 06:53 GMT
Gay row Tory 'forced to resign'
John Jenkins
John Jenkins is now an independent Carmarthenshire councillor
A former Conservative candidate claims he was told to resign or be publicly disowned by party leader David Cameron.

John Jenkins quit the race for a Welsh assembly seat in 2007 over "anti-gay" comments he made three years earlier.

He had also stood down as a candidate in 2003 after saying on a website being gay was like having a mental condition.

Tories said Mr Jenkins - who has now left the party - resigned of his own accord and was "desperately trying to blame others for his fall from grace".

Mr Jenkins, now an independent Carmarthenshire councillor, first resigned as the assembly candidate for Llanelli in 2003.

It came after he posted a comment on a website in which he said he was homophobic and that he considered homosexuality to be a "medical mental condition".

He went on to say he thought marriage was "an act between a man and a woman" and that "gays cannot get married".

John Jenkins resigned of his own accord after admitting his comments about homosexuality were totally unacceptable
Welsh Conservative spokesman

He claimed his remarks were taken out of context and last month he thought Welsh Conservatives had given a second chance by selecting him to fight the Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South seat in next year's assembly election.

But Mr Jenkins said he was contacted by an adviser to Mr Cameron while he was on paternity leave after the recent birth of his son, Arthur.

He said: "I received a phone call from Andrew Mackay, David Cameron's special adviser, who advised me that if I didn't resign David Cameron would abandon his paternity leave to condemn me publicly.

"That didn't leave me much choice really, so I told Mr Mackay that I had no wish to stay as a candidate or as a member of the party".

A Welsh Conservative spokesman said Mr Jenkins refused "to accept his own role in this affair and is desperately trying to blame others for his fall from grace."

Conservative leader David Cameron
David Cameron was on paternity leave at the time Mr Jenkins quit

"John Jenkins resigned of his own accord after admitting his comments about homosexuality were totally unacceptable".

The spokesman said: "David Cameron wants to give the Welsh party more power, not less, and the suggestion that this saga was something orchestrated from London is wholly inaccurate".

"There is a robust relationship between the party in Wales and at Westminster and that approach is being pursued effectively."

Conservative Central Office said it had nothing further to add the statement from Welsh Conservatives concerning Mr Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins' selection as a candidate last month to challenge Labour former rural affairs minister Christine Gwyther was attacked by both Labour and Plaid Cymru, who said his views were "odious" and "abhorrent".


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